Zootopia

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Ben » March 28th, 2016, 5:05 am

So I haven't seen this yet, but lots of clips playing on TV and it does look like they dubbed the lines to say Zootropolis over here. Careful looking at the animation doesn't look like they added anything to the sync, but I can't be sure until I see the film. Would be pretty crazy for them to have animated this tiny detail all through the movie!

Funny side note, too...while Rich Moore always got the "new" name right, Byron Howard kept slipping in interviews and saying Zootop...tropolis, which is quite amusing. People who don't know the background must be thinking that he doesn't even know the name of his own movie!

In promo chats over here they are already talking about follow-ups in an anthology way, maybe not using the same characters but setting other stories in Zootoptropolis. Although that could be cool, I can see this going the way of other Disney properties and being turned into a TV show, maybe with Hopps investigating the crime of the week? Hmmm...CSI: Animation? That could really work, actually.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by droosan » March 28th, 2016, 11:09 am

Very interesting that Disney would go to the trouble of having two distinct english dialogue tracks for the movie. Though, I guess that was cheaper than buying the zoo in Denmark and turning it into 'Zootopialand'. :mrgreen:

Speaking of Byron Howard .. take a look at Mrs. Otter:

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Ben » March 30th, 2016, 5:56 am

Okay, so I caught up with Zootopoa/Zootropolis yesterday, and...

I thought it was good clean fun, but nothing overly special and I must admit to being slightly baffled at the huge love and commercial success it's been getting, this being the kind of movie that might reach around $400 or $500 million total (which is what I think Disney was thinking, too, when they went for a March release and got surprised), and still been a hit.

Firstly, the technical: yes, they have replaced all mention of Zootopia with Zootropolis throughout the movie, both in speech and whenever it's seen spelled out, which is pretty impressive at first, but not when one realises that in this day and age of digital artwork it's just a retyping of the word (or, indeed, a cut and paste job) to replace each instance. If they were going to do it for each international version then they may as well count the UK in with that and go through the same motion. Certainly had this been the old days of having to recreate each piece of artwork I can't see them going to this amount of trouble.

Except...it kind of comes and goes. From the looks of things, whenever I could catch it, I don't think they've done the lipsync...it certainly looked like "tropolis" has been inserted into the mouths of "topia" - the same amount of syllables after all - since one that I managed to catch best clearly had an open "a" mouth at the end of the word and not a closed "s" shape. But each line has been rerecorded so as for it not to sound inserted, meaning that performances between the two versions might be slightly off with each other. Indeed, with the level of how many times the word was mentioned and seen on screen (I noted that the police badge never had a Zoo... name on it, so they didn't have to rerender all of those!) it did strike me that here might be a rare time when an entirely alternate version of a Disney animation might be a perfectly valid release in its own right.

But then I kept seeing little slips, like a couple of signs in wide shots or far off billboards, and the most obvious being the Zootopia News Network microphone at Judy's press conference, which is at one point shoved right into camera and felt odd that they didn't bother with such a clearly visible reference. I thought it clever that they mitigated it where possible so that characters talked about Zoo-this or Zoo-that so as to not have to replace too many lines, or that the police department was the ZPD, saving more changes there. I did think they missed a trick, however, in one instance - if you're going to change the word and title throughout the whole movie anyway, I thought it would have been fun to call the cops the Zootropolice...?

In the end it was fairly clear that it really wanted to be called Zootopia...the dialogue and story points support this title slightly more, although it might have just been easier just to go with one title for the English language, and Zootropolis certainly still works for both instances. However, with a few of those little changes not getting through and the sync remaining Zootopia throughout, I can't really support the notion that this felt like a different film because of it. It's fairly clear that the change was a copyright issue rather than something creative, and Zootopia works better from a story standpoint.

So on to the movie itself which, as a message movie, I thought worked very well. Deftly spreading its word throughout the film without leaning on what it was trying no to say too much or too often, I did think that it maybe did all its good work at the end by having the villain reveal prove that, yeah, we should all get along and trust everyone else, but don't get along or trust *everyone*, which kind of send double messages. And the reveal really wasn't a big surprised after the second time you saw that character, something that's started to feel old in Disney films of this era.

Not really knowing Goodwin from anything, I thought she was just perfect as Judy, almost bouncing along just with her vocals, but I could have used a lot more personality from Bateman as Nick. Sure he was smooth and good with the one-line put-downs, but he never "popped" for me, and I was wondering what someone like Robert Downey Jr might have given the part. Maybe he was just self-conscious acting in the vocal booth? That's what it sounded like to me, that he never quite invested himself in the character enough to make Nick his own thing.

Little things that bothered some didn't bother me at all in the end: it was clear that all the animals eat vegetables (this was even clearer than them eating fish, although that was depicted visually) and I didn't miss the lack of birds (not sure why they couldn't have just been included anyway?), and even the silly fact that they wear clothes was touched on just enough to cover it, addressing the *other* elephant in the room.

That joke probably got the biggest laugh, even if I saw it coming as it was being said, but I wasn't rolling around on the floor laughing throughout. I loved the Godfather spoof, though we had seen that in the trailers, and the second of the two Let It Go references I thought was just stupid and shoehorned in after the first nice little nod, and though I did appreciate Emmett Otterton's name, they should have left it as a one or two times mentioned reference, since the more they kept saying the name the less it felt a joke nod and came over that they couldn't come up with something more orgIginal (this, ironically from a special that Disney won't allow to be released uncut because they now own Kermit).

There were a few more instances of wordplay that I enjoyed, and overall I liked the film a lot, but wasn't wowed by it, and the lack of a new short on the front was a bit disappointing since it's become tradition for a Disney or Pixar release to have one. Giacchino's score was, as has been said here, fine but nothing special and even his 60s detective drama pastiche didn't have the pizazz that he usually cooks up, and I did notice more Mickey Mousing than is usual for him. The other vocals were pretty good - especially Judy's parents - and I liked, for once, how the city was thought out, even if I'm not sure what was going on in the rest of Zootopia's world.

In all, I couldn't call it a "blast", and often times I did wonder to myself, what an odd little film, but it was enjoyable and still leaps abound other releases of the same ilk (Over The Hedge came to mind a few times especially), even if it was one hundred percent a *Disney movie* and never felt anything but. The plot was pretty solid in a 1970s thriller aspect - and even the villain reveal could be said to have worked within that context - but it perhaps lacked one pure spark that could have lifted it, for me, to the level where I could understand the enormous replay value and success it's achieved a little more.

If I was rating it, I'd go for a solid 7. :)

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Re: Zootopia

Post by EricJ » March 30th, 2016, 1:18 pm

and the second of the two Let It Go references I thought was just stupid and shoehorned in after the first nice little nod,
Given that Jennifer Lee was on the script--and now with BIG CREDITS because she's a "power woman" in Hollywood now!--we can guess who put the cornier line in the script. What was the other one, though?
(And there was a murmur of the audience getting the blink-or-miss-it "Bootleg disk" joke.)

Liked the movie but thought it was...okay--A little depressing, since the message at the end was basically, "While we can accomplish big things, the city isn't as shiny as it looks to the small town, since it's full of crooks and mean people that will test your liberal outlook toward racism, and it's the uncaring proverbial 'jungle out there' that will eat you alive."
With everybody against Judy, her comically dealing with a city full of rude and/or nasty critters, and even Nick acting smug, the first half seriously bordered on the Dumbo factor, where it's hard to like a movie where we hate everyone but the main character. (Not as bad as Atlantis, maybe, but...) By the time we get the Lasseter-era Redemption Moment where we learn Nick's backstory, okay, it's possible to warm to it. :D
And was "lovable" desk-receptionist Clawhauser meant to be a homage to every Dom DeLuise character in a Don Bluth movie?

One of the problems with Warner's "Osmosis Jones" was that it wanted to do a "parody" of 80's buddy-cop movies, and did absolutely nothing parodic but to go through the exact same cliche' motions while inserting the crazy new location references.
Here, it's a little more parodic (a Godfather parody in '16??), but if Disney tried giving us a sequel with "Nick & Judy...they're cops!", I could see it falling into the same problems as every other real 80's buddy-cop comedy that had a flop sequel.
Last edited by EricJ on March 30th, 2016, 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Dacey » March 30th, 2016, 1:30 pm

It's fairly clear that the change was a copyright issue rather than something creative, and Zootopia works better from a story standpoint.
Are you aware of what sort of copyright issue? Because this actually kinda baffles me a little as I can't remember Disney ever doing something like this before. And "Zootopia" flows off the mouth more naturally anyway.
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Re: Zootopia

Post by Bill1978 » March 30th, 2016, 3:32 pm

From memory it has to do with a zoo or theme park called Zootopia in Europe somewhere (Denmark?)

Ben - which males news reporter did the UK get? At one stage I read reports the UK got a corgi, but later I read the UK got the standard moose reporter.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Ben » March 30th, 2016, 7:29 pm

Eric...the two Let It Go moments I noticed was the song in a playlist and Idris Elba's forced-in dialogue line.

Dacey...I posted about the copyright thing a few posts ago...check above!

Bill...yeah, we got the standard reporters but I don't know who voiced them. Certainly not BBC voices so probably from Sky. I didn't recognise them and they were wooden as anything.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Jpcase » April 17th, 2016, 12:50 pm

Well, I'm late to the discussion again, as has been usual. I'm glad to see though, that I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed. Despite mostly avoiding this thread until now, and so only having the ridiculously high Rotten Tomatoes score as an indication of the film's quality, I went in with pretty low expectations. WDAS' films have been getting progressively worse, IMHO, from Tangled downward, so all I was looking for were some fun designs and a good time. The film definitely delivered in the first respect and sort of did in the second. But there's been a weird pattern with Disney's last three films. Somewhere around the midway point, the stories have more or less fallen apart for me. In the case of Frozen, it was the shift in focus from the relationship between Anna and Elsa to the overly Tangled-esque escapades of Anna, Kristoff, and Sven (a dynamic that worked perfectly well in Tangled, but felt a little like unwanted leftovers in Frozen). As for Big Hero 6, the film's second two acts simply settled into an overly generic superhero / action movie narrative - agreeable enough, I suppose, but lacking in any real surprises and certainly squandering its fantastic roster of supporting characters.

I'd probably give Zootopia a similar rating as James - a five or a six - but I'm not sure that we necessarily "disliked" the film for all of the same reasons. And I put "disliked" in quotations, because like James rightly said in a much earlier post, 5 isn't technically "on the bad side of the scale". Is Zootopia a bad movie? No, not really. There are definitely some things to like about it, mainly in the voice acting and the endless creativity of the city's design. But wow...I mean, is it really one of the best animated movies of ALL TIME, as several critics have been so enthusiastically declaring? :roll:

I couldn't help but chuckle to myself a little bit, while reading through all of the serious deliberation over what the predators eat. The thought may have crossed my mind briefly during the film, but I didn't spend long pondering it . Maybe it's just that, as a child of the 90s and early 00s, I've already gone through several years of questioning, tongue-in-cheek, whether the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom are all cannibals (given that Krabby Patties would presumably contain some sort of meat). I'm usually not one to dismiss internal rules as unimportant to animated films (even comedies and fantasies should strive to contain good world-building), but there is a certain point at which "cartoon logic" becomes an acceptable answer for things. That said, I can see how this is actually kind of pertinent to a story that makes such a big deal out of the complicated history between predators and prey.

It's interesting what Droo mentioned, about an earlier version of the story still featuring fish as a part of the carnivore diet. So apparently the writers did think through the matter, but things must have become more muddled as the screenplay-revising process went on. Which come to think of it, would be the second time in a row that something like this has happened at Disney / Pixar - Bob Petersen's original vision of a complex Dino-led agricultural community, in which a whole menagerie of different species made their own unique contributions to the farming operations, strikes me as a much more natural story concept than the almost bizarre-in-how-random-it-is idea of just making a dinosaur western. Not to say that a "Dino-western" is a completely wrong-headed idea, and I'm sure that Petersen's version of the film also had some of those elements. But looking back on The Good Dinosaur, I get the impression that the very reason for the story to have been told in the first place got lost somewhere along the way from page to screen.
Anyways, I have no idea what the original, "darker" version of Zootopia would have looked like, beyond being richer in Omega-3 fatty acids. But the story as told "did" seem a little off-balance to me. If they wanted to make a dark and gritty crime film, then they could have gone in that direction, and it might have worked out okay. But if the goal was to make a cute and vibrant comedy about animals learning heartfelt lessons, then I feel like the film veered off track. I was having a pretty good time with Zootopia and willing to overlook most of its faults, right up until the story switched from

"Young bunny struggles to make it as a cop in the big city, while combating her own prejudices

to

"Bunny and Fox unmask a giant, sinister conspiracy".

I avoided the main trailer before seeing the film, so perhaps everyone else had a better sense of what they were getting in for. And the disparate elements do seem to work together, at least slightly better in hindsight. But I think that one of my biggest pet-peeves with Hollywood is their incessant need to make everything as BIG and high-stakes as possible (it's the same reason I didn't care much for Paddington or The Force Awakens, even though both films had plenty of wonderful elements). I would have liked Zootopia a lot better had it followed a simpler and more personal storyline about Judy and Nick's budding friendship, with a variety of smaller crimes needing to be solved on the periphery. Or even if, you know, the main crime could have just stuck with being the simple case of a missing otter. But once the story started moving into the territory of corrupt politicians, secret laboratories, mafia dons, and what at first seems to be some sort of voodoo curse - though thankfully has a more grounded, if still somewhat contrived explanation - well, it just completely lost me.
I think I can see what James means when he says that the film is too episodic, even though my main criticism of the film - it has too much plot - is arguably of an opposite nature. But perhaps both faults could have been corrected, had the more overblown elements been cut out, and that time been used to tie some of the simpler ideas together in a more easy-flowing manner.

In regards to the film's message, yes it was surprisingly heavy-handed at times, and yet I also felt that not enough was really done with it. On one hand,
- lines like when Judy says that only bunnies can call each other cute came across as too transparent. I like the idea of "cute" being an offensive term for bunnies in this world, but it could have been presented with a little more subtly.
On the other hand
- I kind of expected Judy to be more entrenched in her prejudices than she turns out to be. I mean, she warms to Nick awfully fast. And then sure, she stops trusting him, once Nick actually starts acting untrustworthy - there wasn't exactly any need for built-in animosity between foxes and rabbits, in order for Judy to reach a negative opinion of Nick. But if I remember correctly, the only time that Judy wrongs Nick in any considerable way is during the news conference. And while I find it interesting, even admirable, that Disney decided to present a subtle, contemporarily relevant form of prejudice - in crafting a character who doesn't engage in egregious displays of discrimination, yet nonetheless buys into and perpetuates offensive stereotypes - I still feel like Judy may have been portrayed as already a little too enlightened from the get-go. There wasn't enough of an arc for her character to go through. In fact, going back to James' "episodic critique", I think one of the reasons the mid-film scenes, with the DMV, and the nudist colony, and the mafia, felt irrelevant to the larger story, is because very little is done in these moments to explore Judy's erroneous beliefs about Nick. Sure, we're shown the two characters needling each other, in typical "Buddy comedy" fashion, but up until the final act, not much is done to develop the relationship between them in any serious way. And by that point, the reveal about Nick's past, and Judy's soul searching don't, IMHO, carry the emotional weight that they ought to, because not enough groundwork has been laid in getting us there.
All that said, I'll confess that I never thought of the message as being hypocritical, although I can see how the Southern bully stereotype is problematic. What did cross my mind as I was watching the film is that, as much as I love Ginnifer Goodwin's performance as Judy, her role probably should have been depicted as having a Southern accent as well. It's not like Gideon was the only resident of Bunnyburrow to have one, and the whole "small town girl goes off to prove herself in the big city" aspect of the film might have been improved, had the film actually stressed Judy's rural background a little more.

One more point, and then I promise I'll shut up. The film seemed aggressively intent on being perceived as hip and current, in a way more befitting of lesser animation studios. I don't mind Disney incorporating a bit of modern technology, like iPhones, into their films, and its commendable to see the studio catching up with the times, by depicting a possibly gay couple in Judy's roommates. But anything from the mainly-just-here-to-sell-singles music montage towards the beginning and Shakira-led DreamWorks style dance party at the end, to the Godfather reference - I don't care whether it's a film's message that's too on the nose or its parodies; both are irksome to me - I was surprised by how non-Disney-like the film seemed at times.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by EricJ » April 17th, 2016, 2:14 pm

Jpcase wrote:There are definitely some things to like about it, mainly in the voice acting and the endless creativity of the city's design. But wow...I mean, is it really one of the best animated movies of ALL TIME, as several critics have been so enthusiastically declaring? :roll:
Keep in mind, it wasn't until Frozen that all the grownup and fangirl fans started recognizing that ohh, WDFA films have been good all along, and started saying they could do no wrong--And now stoked with new brand-loyalty to the studio, set out to prove that Zootopia Was the Best Disney Movie Since Frozen, just because it was the next one they'd gone out to see intentionally, or at least was more validatingly box-office popular than Big Hero 6.
(Qv. fans thinking Howl's Moving Castle is the "greatest Ghibli ever!" for coming out three years after they all started noticing Spirited Away.)
Which come to think of it, would be the second time in a row that something like this has happened at Disney / Pixar - Bob Petersen's original vision of a complex Dino-led agricultural community, in which a whole menagerie of different species made their own unique contributions to the farming operations, strikes me as a much more natural story concept than the almost bizarre-in-how-random-it-is idea of just making a dinosaur western.
In Good Dino, for ex., the scene where Arlo sweeps up a swarm of pretty fireflies is a nice, cuddly "aww!" scene (and probably one of the few where we sense any warmth of character) that doesn't really particularly mean anything. In Petersen's version, however, where bug-lover Arlo has to join with mighty bug-hunter Spot, the scene could have been meant as Arlo's key demonstration that Bugs Are Beautiful Too, and thus have more meaning for the larger mutual-understanding arc.
But once the story started moving into the territory of corrupt politicians, secret laboratories, mafia dons, and what at first seems to be some sort of voodoo curse - though thankfully has a more grounded, if still somewhat contrived explanation - well, it just completely lost me.
Er..."voodoo curse"?? :? Took it to be more of the "New lethal superdrug, about to be let out on the streets by the city's ultimate menacing invincible druglord" (note the Breaking Bad parody, which I don't even watch, but had pointed out for me by critics) plot that was the staple of 80's Lethal Weapon buddy-cop films, which structure the movie was homaging, if not outright intentionally trying to genre-parody.
Which sort of let us see the "twist ending" a mile ahead although
the fact that the Mayor ISN'T the city official secretly orchestrating the whole plot for a predator takeover was at least a change in the pitching lineup.
by depicting a possibly gay couple in Judy's roommates.
Oh, STOP--They're college roommates, that's why they're loud and obnoxious, carry giant stereo speakers, and keep shouting at each other behind the walls to "shuddup!" (And don't expect them to apologize!)
I had two of those behind my bedroom wall up to six months ago--because, like Judy's first arrival in the Big Bad Dream-Crushing City, I also have a struggling downtown apartment--and so have you. Unless you've lived in the suburbs all your life, don't pretend you haven't.

(That's sort of what I mean by ex-Frozen fans suddenly jumping on this movie now that they're determined to praise every WDFA movie for being the next one. The ones who thought Frozen was a "gay paean, just for us!" are now going to look under every bush and hedge in this one.)

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Vernadyn » April 17th, 2016, 6:40 pm

Jpcase wrote:But wow...I mean, is it really one of the best animated movies of ALL TIME, as several critics have been so enthusiastically declaring? :roll:
I think this may be a case of critics having short memories as far as animated movies are concerned. I mean, the animated films that came out prior to Zootopia were Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie, Norm of the North, and Kung Fu Panda 3--which all ranged from disappointing to horrid. So yes, Zootopia is a lot better than those films, but that's not a very high bar.
Jpcase wrote:But I think that one of my biggest pet-peeves with Hollywood is their incessant need to make everything as BIG and high-stakes as possible (it's the same reason I didn't care much for Paddington or The Force Awakens, even though both films had plenty of wonderful elements).
Even some of the more prominent foreign films have fallen into this trap. To stick with an animated example, take Song of the Sea. Beautiful artwork and, for the most part, built around a strong central relationship. However,
during the finale, the girl suddenly solves all the ills in the movie's world with one superheroic feat, tying everything up with a neat bow and, for me, robbing much of the intended poignancy of the ending.
Ponyo also has a cataclysmic natural event that detracts from the relationship between Ponyo and Sosuke and, to be frank, makes some of the latter portion of the film drag a bit.

I feel that The Tale of Princess Kaguya and, to a lesser extent, The Wind Rises deftly acknowledged the characters' effect on the larger world while focusing on the more important central relationships. But at the same time, I don't think having lofty stakes automatically makes for a better film. Winnie the Pooh, Bolt, Finding Nemo, Home on the Range, Toy Story, and Shark Tale don't have earth-shattering crises, and yet those films range from excellent to terrible. On the other hand, The Iron Giant features a rather high-stakes predicament at its climax, yet no one can convince me that that's a bad--or even underwhelming--film.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Ben » April 17th, 2016, 7:42 pm

The "stakes" in a film - or any story - have always amused me.

To Woody, Buzz and co, their not getting back to Andy's room is just as important - if not more so - as a bomb about to nuke the world.

Sometimes the stakes can be *so* high that they are unrelatable, but whatever the scale of things, we should always feel the same level of emotional resonance whether it's a bunch of lifelike toys racing so as to not be discovered, or if it's an incredible robot sacrificing itself to save the world.

In many ways it's the smaller events that impact more, since there is a more immediate jeopardy, but I'm always impressed when a filmmaker can make the really big world-changing events work and get us involved...something the current spate of blockbusters have been so very rarely able to do recently.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Dan » April 17th, 2016, 10:16 pm

The more I think about it, the more I like Zootopia because I think it pays a bit of homage to the classic detective/noir films of the 40s and 50s with a story, while having a message that gets audiences into discussion afterwards, is still in primary service to developing characters to care for. As a matter of fact, I think of it similar to a film that also pays that same homage and is one of my all-time favorites, L.A. Confidential, with Judy coming off as a far more likable Ed Exley.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by Dacey » April 17th, 2016, 11:25 pm

To me it felt more like a 70's neo-noir, but I see what you're getting at. :)

On an unrelated note, while I haven't been rooting for BVS to "fail," it is nice on some level that it looks like Zootopia is ultimately going to end up being the bigger box office grosser of the two, which is something I think no one would've seen coming a year ago.
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Re: Zootopia

Post by Jpcase » April 18th, 2016, 12:17 am

Er..."voodoo curse"?? :? Took it to be more of the "New lethal superdrug, about to be let out on the streets by the city's ultimate menacing invincible druglord" (note the Breaking Bad parody, which I don't even watch, but had pointed out for me by critics) plot that was the staple of 80's Lethal Weapon buddy-cop films, which structure the movie was homaging, if not outright intentionally trying to genre-parody.
Which sort of let us see the "twist ending" a mile ahead
I didn't expect the explanation to be voodoo per se. I just had no idea where the plot was going at that point and didn't rule out some sort of magic as a possibility. But the drug idea crossed my mind as well, and I definitely would have preferred that over the ultimate reveal.
Oh, STOP--They're college roommates, that's why they're loud and obnoxious, carry giant stereo speakers, and keep shouting at each other behind the walls to "shuddup!" (And don't expect them to apologize!)
I had two of those behind my bedroom wall up to six months ago--because, like Judy's first arrival in the Big Bad Dream-Crushing City, I also have a struggling downtown apartment--and so have you. Unless you've lived in the suburbs all your life, don't pretend you haven't.

(That's sort of what I mean by ex-Frozen fans suddenly jumping on this movie now that they're determined to praise every WDFA movie for being the next one. The ones who thought Frozen was a "gay paean, just for us!" are now going to look under every bush and hedge in this one.)
Well, as a community college student in my early 20s, I actually have lived in the suburbs my entire life. I'd love little more than to move into a dingy apartment all my own, but between the crappy economy and the high cost of living in my area, it's just not possible right now. Something to strive for though.

As for Judy's neighbors, I never said that they are a gay couple; just that they could be perceived that way. But looking at the IMDB cast listing, it's worth noting that the characters share a hyphenated last name: Oryx-Antlerson.

The directors of Frozen might have had gay pride somewhere on the mind, but I don't see either film as being a "gay paean". "Let it Go" is, I'm sure, intended to be interpreted in a lot of different ways, and supposing that Mr. and Mr. Oryx-Antlerson are indeed a gay couple, I don't see any need to make something political out of the fact. It's just an acknowledgement that yes, gay couples do actually exist - even in Disney movies. And if Zootopia is supposed to be a modern, diverse city, then I think that it was a good call for Disney to actually include a bit of diversity in its residents.
In Good Dino, for ex., the scene where Arlo sweeps up a swarm of pretty fireflies is a nice, cuddly "aww!" scene (and probably one of the few where we sense any warmth of character) that doesn't really particularly mean anything. In Petersen's version, however, where bug-lover Arlo has to join with mighty bug-hunter Spot, the scene could have been meant as Arlo's key demonstration that Bugs Are Beautiful Too, and thus have more meaning for the larger mutual-understanding arc.
Solid point. I still have fairly vivid memories of an IMDB leak, purporting to describe Brenda Chapmans's original version of Brave, and while the veracity of it is admittedly in question (I'm sure that you'll deny it to your dying breath :wink: ), it all seemed to work so much better than what was actually released. I know that I tend to be harsh on Disney, probably more so than the studio deserves, but I really do find myself wondering whether Lasseter (or Iger, however the case may be) has been meddling a bit too much with the original visions for these films.
Last edited by Jpcase on April 18th, 2016, 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zootopia

Post by droosan » April 18th, 2016, 12:31 am

Dan wrote:The more I think about it, the more I like Zootopia because I think it pays a bit of homage to the classic detective/noir films of the 40s and 50s with a story, while having a message that gets audiences into discussion afterwards, is still in primary service to developing characters to care for. As a matter of fact, I think of it similar to a film that also pays that same homage and is one of my all-time favorites, L.A. Confidential, with Judy coming off as a far more likable Ed Exley.
Dacey wrote:To me it felt more like a 70's neo-noir, but I see what you're getting at. :)

As I've said before: if you enjoyed the 'noir-with-animals' aspect of Zootopia, I'd highly recommend the Euro comic Blacksad. It's a series of french-language albums by a pair of Spanish creators .. but the first five stories are available in two english-language books from Dark Horse (two further french albums will be published later this year). The artist -- Juanjo Guarnido -- was an animator at Disney's Paris studio .. where he'd worked on Tarzan and Treasure Planet.

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Blacksad is definitely not for kids, though; it's very much inspired by the Naked City-style crime dramas of the 1950s & 60s. The stories are rife with graphic violence and mature themes .. and -- like Zootopia -- uses its animal characters to spotlight the social and racial issues of those turbulent times.

Blacksad's stories are thought-provoking, and the art is gorgeous. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if it were one of many inspirations for Zootopia (another being -- apparently -- the Eddie Murphy-Nick Nolte comedy 48 Hours).

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I don't know much specific about the earlier version of Zootopia .. except that, originally, Nick was the main character -- and the tone of the story-telling reflected his own cynical outlook. The shift of focus toward Judy -- and her optimism -- came along very late in the film's development .. and essentially required a complete 're-tooling' of the plot (which seems to happen more often with animated features, these days). :|
Last edited by droosan on April 18th, 2016, 3:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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